Air Conditioning Woes Shut KS Nuke

Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 04:09 PM gHale


Kansas’ only nuclear power plant shut down because of a potential problem with an air conditioning unit that cools safety-related electrical equipment, a plant spokeswoman said Thursday.

Officials at the Wolf Creek plant do not know when it will resume generating electricity, said spokeswoman Cassie Bailey.

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The plant, outside Burlington and about 55 miles south of Topeka, has been offline since late Wednesday.

Bailey said a maintenance check into higher-than-normal vibrations in the unit suggested problems with a compressor, though Wolf Creek employees are still reviewing the matter. Failing to address the issue could risk overheating electrical equipment.

“We’re still investigating,” she said. “We take the operation of equipment in our plant very seriously, especially safety equipment.”

Wolf Creek reduced its output of power for seven days in June because of problems with another air conditioning unit, Bailey said, but the compressor in the unit cooling safety-related equipment had undergone replacement recently. In January 2012, an electrical short caused by improperly connected wires cut the plant’s connection to the electrical grid, leading to a shutdown.

The plant can produce enough electricity to power 800,000 homes. The plant’s owners are Kansas City Power & Light Co. and Westar Energy Inc., the largest electric company in Kansas.

KCP&L spokeswoman Rebecca Galati said it has enough capacity to handle customers’ demands, even with Wolf Creek’s shutdown.

And Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said with rainy weather and temperatures dropping into the 80s in Kansas, “It’s not going to leave us challenged to serve our customers.”



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